The Dodgers started the year with a plethora of options to fill their starting rotation. Fast forward 7 months and a hard-fought season later, and those options have been stripped away. Instead, the Dodgers entered the postseason with only 3 reliable starters to lean on. Thankfully those three were Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and Max Scherzer.
However, things haven’t worked out too well for the Boys in Blue as they’ve had to hit the in case of emergency button several times in October. Despite having their best bullpen in years, Dave Roberts called on Max Scherzer in relief to close out the NLDS and Julio in relief during game Game 2 of the NLCS. Roberts had expressed his concern doing so as it could have a cost, and it certainly did on both pitchers in their next starts. Yet Doc seems to stand by those moves.
“There’s a potential cost. I don’t think anyone knows. There’s been starts where Julio hasn’t pitched well on regular, extra [rest]. For me, it’s looking and talking to the player, the pitching guys, and seeing the stuff … I just didn’t see the stuff comprised, I just didn’t.”
While Scherzer was able to slam the door on the Giants in the NLDS, he struggled two days later against the Braves. He labored through 4 1/3 innings giving up 2 runs along the way. He ended up revealing that his arm was fatigued and never really felt loose.
Later in that game, Roberts called upon Urías to keep the Braves at bay and bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen despite being scheduled to pitch in game 4. Julio was tagged for 2 runs that inning which lead to a tie game and an eventual walk-off win for Atlanta. Similar to Scherzer, Julio was not himself in his next start getting tagged for 5 runs in the blowouts loss.
Part of Julio’s bad outing should be attributed to some great hitting by the Braves, yet it still makes one wonder if he and Scherzer would have performed better had they not been used in relief. Maybe they both just had one of those days, or maybe they were just overworked.